Photo TR: Frontier City

June 14, 2014
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Photo TR: Frontier City

Postby Shavethewhales » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:18 pm

I'm a little late in posting these, as this trip was last weekend. I wasn't really planning on visiting Frontier City this year since there's really not much of a draw for coaster enthusiasts, but with the new set of flyers that the park suddenly purchased and installed at the start of the season and the announcement on facebook that the old rotor ride had been refurbished and put back in operation, I decided it was time to see what was new since my last visit a couple years ago.

Ever since CNL bought this park from Six Flags, Frontier City has been slowly reinvigorating itself. After almost two decades of neglect, almost everything in the park has had to be overhauled/repaired/repainted/generally fixed up. The park has also had to renew its image to the people of OKC, who used to view it as only a sad, dilapidated amusement park. It's hard to explain to outsiders just how much work has been done to re-shape this property. While it's still a small, locally-oriented park, it now has a local following and a lot more season pass holders than it used to. Premier took over management from PARC in 2011, and I think they're doing an even better job of re-inventing Frontier City.

First thing I saw when I got into the parking lot was a set of three huge lines to get in. This was definitely the first major change to the park since my last visit a few years ago - it's been a long time since FC has had major crowds like this so while I was a bit perturbed at the huge line I was also kind of happy at the sight of it. After waiting for about 15mins at the end of the line which snaked way into the parking lot, an employee finally showed up and told everyone that this wasn't even the line to purchase tickets, so I had to leave that line, march all the way up to the gate to buy tickets at the counter, and then go back to the end of the line. Not a great way to start the day, and I hope as the park sees more success they handle things like this better. The cause of the lines turned out to be a set of metal detectors, which is the first time I've seen them used here. Perhaps they only brought them out because of the concert.

I didn't realize until I got to the park that some act named 'Zendaya' was having a concert that night. Not recognizing the name, I didn't think it was a big deal, but apparently Zendaya is a Disney star and her show really brought in a huge number of young girls and families into the park. I actually stayed around for awhile just to get a glimpse of the concert and see what it was all about, and man, that was probably the biggest crowd of people I've ever seen at Frontier City. The crowd filled FC's huge concert area. Premier parks is doing a great job at bringing in these concerts - I think that is a huge factor right now in the park's resurgence.

There's not much to say about Frontier City's rides. None of them really stand out. Silver Bullet (Schwarzkopf Looping Star) and Diamondback (Arrow Shuttle Loop) are nice nostalgic rides, but neither are really outstanding. The Wildcat, a "relocated" NAD coaster from a defunct park in Missouri is a piece of crap. The ride was salvaged as part of a misguided conservation effort led by ACE, but the process of making it fit into the space at Frontier City left us with a very obviously messed up coaster. The parabolic hills have been oddly re-profiled, and everything after the turnaround is just a mess of pointless straight track and slight turns in order to get it to fit into the smaller space. You slam into the brakes a few hundred feet away from the station due to the odd placement of a lame old water feature that hasn't operated in decades.
Just a waste of a coaster. I used to think it was OK back when it was smoother. The outbound portion can be nice even though there's no airtime just because of the classic feel and the tree canopy it dives under. This time though the train was rattling around the track so badly I was legitimately worried something was going to break. It is now easily the worst coaster I have ever been on, and my greatest hope for the park is that they'll replace it with a GCII soon.

There's also a HUSS enterprise, a fairly nice rapids ride, a log flume that always has insanely long lines due to only having like four boats in operation, the new flyers, a recently-reopened classic rotor, a fairly bare-bones shooting dark ride, and a nice Vekoma family invert.
They're at the point now where everything seems to be fixed up and all they need to focus on going forward is a marquee ride to recapture people's attention.

One last major thing to note is the park's new emphasis on shows. I attended four shows at the park on this visit, which I think was really awesome. I really like taking a break from the rides and seeing shows at parks, but usually only the shows at SDC are any good. First I saw a magic show which was OK - a little rusty in the showmanship, but the tricks were nice enough. Then there was a musical performance which was basically just people lip-syncing show tunes. Then I saw the live action stunt show, which was pretty entertaining even if the acting was rusty and the script was terrible. Finally, I found out that the park now has it's own Saloon with saloon girls and a periodic show - very much like SDC's but on a much smaller scale. The show was, again, a little rusty, but cool to see none the less. There was even a little medicine man show happening on a little pathway near Steel Lasso. I believe that show is actually a Frontier City tradition dating way back, but I've never cared to stick around and see what it's about.
I'm glad the park is focusing on this style of entertainment and hope they continue to develop it. It's hard to find good actors that will perform in an amusement park like this, but I really think it goes a long way to create an authentic overall park experience vs. just having a bunch of rides that people wait in line all day for.

Other notes:
[*]Lots of new wood boards around the park, but since they don't stain them or anything, it kind of makes the place look hodge-podge.
[*]The employees could use some improvement. Some of them are SO slow and obviously bored looking, sometimes they were overtly rude to guests. Some of the operators of the HUSS enterprise were particularly bad.
[*]Graffiti and gum plaque this park. Wish they could do more about it, but a lot of it comes from being a local park that kids get dropped off at.
[*]They are definitely taking a lot of cues from Silver Dollar City with respect to thematics, hand-painted signs, and other little things. I noticed they had signs that said "Fire Chief says ya'll can smoke here" in exactly the same fashion as SDC's signs.
[*]The park purchased most of an old RV park that borders it's parking lot. While it hasn't been paved yet, they now use it as parking. That's worth noting because lack of space for expanding the parking lot was once a major concern and probably one reason why SF didn't seem to care about the property for a long time.

If all that text hasn't bored you to tears yet, here are the photos!
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I've literally never waited to get into Frontier City before. This is a new, and somewhat welcome sight. I just wish they would learn to manage these types of crowds better in the future.
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This is the view after you get through the entry building.
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This is Quickdraw, a pretty basic Sally dark ride that replaced a former classic dark ride in the same space immediately after PARC came into management.
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I wish they would open this up again. I've never seen this open, but clearly it used to be an attraction and the new roof over it suggests they intend to do something with it.
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The new flyers. Apparently the park got a last minute deal on this ride, and rushed to install it in April before the park opened for the summer.
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I don't know where this ride was originally intended, but the parrot decals aren't really working. Hopefully they'll get replaced when the park has a chance this off-season.
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The park's classic scambler.
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The Huss Enterprise with the world's slowest loading/unloading cycle and shortest ride cycle.
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This is the classic rotor that has recently re-opened under the name 'Tumbleweed'.
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The park used to have an S&S slingshot in this space. I was SBNO for many years, but I think they just tore it down this off-season. Hopefully they intend to use the space again soon.
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The park had a few of these around - another awesome little detail that one of the new managements added.
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I thought it was strange that they took out all the games in the plaza next to Wildcat. I'm no fan of games and I thought Frontier City had too many of them, but it's strange that these specifically would be the ones they took out, and they kind of leave a void behind.
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The ACE plaque.
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This used to be called the Terrible Twister, but with so many people impacted by tornadoes in Oklahoma every year I doubt they'll even name another ride after them again.
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The iconic ferris wheel.
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Props to FC for the callout to Outlaw Run. They re-did all the old coaster history signage in Wildcat's station this year, which is nice. Honestly though, after riding Wildcat it just makes you wish you were at one of those parks.
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Lift hill porn!
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Some of the slopes on this coaster are so oddly shallow. I don't think it was built like that, but I could be wrong.
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New signage, wasn't sure if we had this in the database.
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The park added this recently, I think it was last year?
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Also for the database in case we didn't have it.
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The log flume really is a classic and I really like it, but good luck getting on it without a good two or more hour wait. It's the longest line in the park due an oddly limited number of boats.
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The new saloon. It's nice inside, but pretty small.
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The park has a lot of cool signage. I think most of it is left over from the original creators of the park, but the current management has done a good job of preserving it.
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I think this Chance inverter has been closed for a few years now. It will either be fixed or removed soon, I'm sure. With the way this park has been fixing things so steadily, I wouldn't be surprised if it is operating by the end of this year. However, it is an uncomfortable ride and kind of ill fitting for the park, so I could see them removing it too.
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You gotta see this in person. Where else can you see animatronic hillbilly singing bears?
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Another apparent leftover from the original creators: there are lots of these little buildings scattered around the kiddie area. I always thought they were really cool and a lot of fun for kids to climb around in.
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Ouch.
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It's hard to miss the massive dilapidated warehouse building in the middle of the park. It once held a galaxi coaster, but is now used for halloween haunts and storage. They left this track piece outside though - shouldn't that have gone with the rest of the coaster?
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Medicine man.
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Wild west action stunt show.
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The vekoma kiddie invert. Arguably the best coaster in the park, had the second longest line after the log flume.
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The massive crowds to see the Disney star. The music didn't win me over, but its so good to see the park pull of a major successful event like this.

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Re: Photo TR: Frontier City

Postby IronWolfman » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:07 pm

Since Elitches is now run by Premier, they also had a Zendaya concert, which I went to. I sometimes listen to that kind of music (similar to Ariana Grande), so I enjoyed. It also had a HUGE crowd, similar in size to the one you saw at Frontier City. Anyways, I'm glad the park seems like it's going in the right direction with fixing rides, repaints, and larger crowds. Sad to hear about Wildcat but it looks like they have a decent ride collection.

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Re: Photo TR: Frontier City

Postby Noporian » Sat Jun 21, 2014 3:38 am

That inverted coaster isn't vekoma, it's a Chance morgan family coaster.

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Re: Photo TR: Frontier City

Postby djboss302 » Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:23 am

Noporian wrote:That inverted coaster isn't vekoma, it's a Chance morgan family coaster.


Um http://rcdb.com/4191.htm
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Re: Photo TR: Frontier City

Postby bert425 » Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:02 am

great TR.

having just come back from Dorney Park tho. . . I think they'd give FC a run for the their money on the longest loading/shortest cycle Enterprise.

we TIMED it, since we thought it was so awful (and honestly, we needed to sit down and take a break after Apollo, so we sat in the shade on the incline and watched it):

SEVEN minutes to load, 53 second cycle.

really.
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Re: Photo TR: Frontier City

Postby Noporian » Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:35 pm

djboss302 wrote:
Noporian wrote:That inverted coaster isn't vekoma, it's a Chance morgan family coaster.


Um http://rcdb.com/4191.htm


sorry remembered it wrong.

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Re: Photo TR: Frontier City

Postby CoasterGuy06 » Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:12 pm

It's a Vekoma designed coaster but was manufactured by Chance. They had a deal for several years where they would market/manufacture Vekoma rides in the US. I believe Freedom Flyer at Funspot was the last one under the deal.
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Re: Photo TR: Frontier City

Postby Canobie Coaster » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:24 pm

Great photos! I think that might be Six Flags New England's old inverter since it has the clock theming. If that's the case, I'm not surprised it it is often closed since that was sadly the case when it was at Six Flags.
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Re: Photo TR: Frontier City

Postby piedude81 » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:34 pm

An ARM/Larson drop tower would go great in the area that used to occupied by the S&S Supershot!
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Re: Photo TR: Frontier City

Postby Canobie Coaster » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:54 pm

That would be much better than the old Chance tower that they had.
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